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Chapter 171 - Rhiba invents a story about the Nazarene
171,1. The Pharisees however – those of the better disposition, who had also become believers now – some more and others less, about 30 in all, went to a separate hut, to there discuss almost through the night what they should do now.
171,2. There was one among them by the name of Rhiba, with the reputation of a smart one. This one, after nothing conclusive had been reached took the floor, saying: ‘Brethren, you have now traded words for at least 2 hours, yet have not come nearer to a conclusion by a hair’s breadth. You have gotten to know me. I have hit the nail on the head in similar scrapes in the past and I presume that my blow shall not miss its mark this time either, after my critical examination and listening and watching of everything that was said and done over here. And so lend me an ear.
171,3. It is by no means to be denied that this man, a carpenter’s son from Nazareth, accomplishes things and works which should hardly be possible to anyone but God. In short, anyone who is somewhat weak and lacking insight would let himself be easily talked around into believing that this Nazarene is at least a semi-god, after the Greek fashion. I myself came close to being persuaded of this, because the appearance on the heights of these mountains were in all earnest of such an extraordinary nature that they could hardly have been exceeded in Moses’ and Elijah’s time.
171,4. Yet certain things nevertheless did not escape my secret perception, which took the wool off my eyes, making me know exactly where I stand. Did you not notice the 3 men who came to us as angels on the heights?’
171,5. They all affirm it. ‘Yet do you know who and where they come from?’ They all said no. ‘I am going to open your eyes. Hear and see.
171,6. It will not be unknown to you that the Nazarene carpenter named Joseph, who has always been in the repute of an initiate into Egyptian and Persian magic, at the same time is a direct descendant of David, at times designating himself with the title “Son of David”. Joseph’s father, whose name was Eli, also a carpenter, of unblemished repute, secretly aspired to elevate his tribe to the Judean as well as the entire Promised Land’s throne. Under the pretext of training his son in the building trade, he let him, in good company, travel to Persia and perhaps even to India, but not on account of the building-trade, but intensive magic, so that Joseph, grounded in such knowledge and craft, could dazzle all mankind as being sent by God, to sit upon the throne of at once the Jews and Romans, because it would then be easier to deal with the idolatrous Romans than the Jews. Joseph would besides his secret craft, of course have to be strict Jew outwardly and without blemish before the law, so that not even the High priests could fault him. Returning from several years of journeying, Joseph, in possession of the art indeed nevertheless did not possess the means and opportunity to put it in practice. He also, as told me by elderly people, lacked the courage, but mainly the speaking capacity, because he was weak and monotonous on that score. Eli realized that he had miscalculated and got his son, who had no capacity to reign, to carry on his own familiar trade. When dying, Eli indeed blessed his son, but telling him quite wisely to drop the agreed plans, because nothing further transpires there. And therefore Joseph did not venture into anything with the children of his first wife either.
171,7. But when after the death of his first wife, he by good fortune and probably his magic from Persia came into the guardianship of the beautiful Mary from the Temple, who also was a descendant of David, the regency plans began to reawaken in Joseph. He got Mary – a girl of barely 14 at the time, pregnant, becoming his wife only later – which of course caused him great problems in Jerusalem, but from which he extricated himself through money and magic, at the same time taking Mary for his wife, on the advice of a close friend.
171,8. Although the surviving and well-to-do parents of Mary in Jerusalem, a certain Joachim and Anna, are supposed to not have been very pleased with such marriage, Joseph, having a powerful friend in the Temple – the old Simeon and especially Zacharias – the thing nevertheless came off without objection and Mary became Joseph’s rightful wife, wherewith her parents also had to be agreeable.
171,9. Encouraged greatly by Mary, whom he loved exceedingly, he now did everything in respect of the unborn child, if male – which as a man of experience in such things Joseph could predict with much certainty – towards the said plan, whereto the not inconsiderable means of his in-laws may now have contributed.
171,10. Some weeks before delivery he sent messengers to Persia and asked the 3 wise men over, whose acquaintance he had made in his youth. These also came to Nazareth. And since at that very time emperor Augustus had ordered a census in Bethlehem, for all of Judea, Joseph and Mary together with Joseph's children, found themselves on the way to Bethlehem for that purpose.
171,11. The 3 wise men, together with their great and dazzling followers of servants, on arrival in Nazareth did not know which way to turn, traveling up to Jerusalem and unfortunately inquiring of the old Herod about the newborn king of Israel, pouring oil upon the fire: Herod of course could give them no advice other than that firstly this was something entirely strange to him and secondly that, if there was anything to it, this family like thousands of others nevertheless was bound to find themselves at Bethlehem for the census called by the emperor. Therewith the three wise men hastened to Bethlehem, where they found what they were seeking.
171,12. That there would have been no shortage of magical appearances for even the Romans to be talked around; can be gauged from the fact that the old Herod would not have otherwise ordered the infanticide. These magicians also loaned, if not actually gave the child such treasures as would help educate it, which it was to then send back to Persia after assuming the regency.
171,13. For that reason those 3 magicians never let the child out of their sight, looking after its perfection in magical training to this hour and now appearing again as the purported 3 angels from the Heavens, helping Jesus to carry out his magic works, together with all kinds of wise sermons and miraculous works, to bedazzle the people, who are blind and know nothing of all that goes on in secret.
171,14. But they are unable to pull the wool over the eyes of those of us who are conversant with all those kinds of mysteries and it therefore is our sacred responsibility to observe this person in all ways and alleys and put a stop to him if he overdoes it.
171,15. The worst would be for him to get the Romans on his side, for that would be the end of all our efforts. Therefore we should try to most methodically proceed to prevent this, or he will grow sky high over our heads in all earnest. Once he has made it, we shall not be able to pull him down. What do you say to that?’
171,16. The others say: ‘You could be right, but if in the end things are otherwise, which could easily be the case, what then with us?’
171,17. Rhiba replies: ‘The question in this particular case is not applicable at all. Is he more and can he be more than a man? Who among us is like the heathens, who do not know what and who God is, taking certain distinguished men and even certain animals for gods, to worship and honor them.
171,18. Is this Nazarene anything more than an exceedingly distinguished man, a genius, unsurpassable in his ways and means?
171,19. If he tried to remain what he is, exercising his craft for man’s benefit and also teach them a few things in those fields where men are blind and without insight, then he would be of indispensable worth and the land which could count him a citizen should be envied. But the way things are, David's throne, crown and scepter are itching him and this makes him contemptible to all orthodox and pure Jews, who have the spirit to regard and grasp all human appearances within the right light and understanding and not have the wool pulled over their eyes as easily as half-heathen tax-collectors and sinners.
171,20. Of what use to mankind in any case the many dazzling teachings dividing it into diverse sects, which then only hate each other on account of their disparate beliefs – more than the voracious beasts of the forest. Those of the old faith hate the unbelievers and the latter those of the old faith and thus such religion achieves the opposite always of what it preaches. Instead of friendship, love and peace, it often creates irreconcilable enmity, hate and the most furious wars. And these have always been the fruits of all religious revivals upon Earth. But if the fruits after such happenings, as experience always teaches, are the same ones, then it becomes the imperative responsibility of us enlightened ones and leaders of the peoples to in time cut the path of such revivalists, along which thousands are threatened with downfall and ruin. Is it not better that such domineering magicians should be dispatched from the world, rather than thousands having to be led astray by such eccentrics and be bumped off and destroyed?’
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